Here is an example of what Michael's editor should have done:
The book was way too long. The author was clearly full of himself. There was a parrot that got away.
There were small flashes of comic genius:
"Then a hatch in the side of the gondola sighed and swung open, divulging the airship's secret cargo: a basalt monolith, the very thing to set half-apes dreaming of the stars. Black knit polo shirt, skull polished like the knob on an Oscar. Gold-rimmed sunglasses, gold finger rings, black Levi's, Timerland loafers. Pausing at the top of a fold-down stair for a display of freestyle looming, brother looked like a celebrity golfer or as if perhaps he had recently eaten a celebrity golfer."
Freestyle looming is going to be my new thing.
I loved this, too:
"The cakes and cookies at Neldam's were not first-rate, but they had an old-fashioned sincerity, a humble brand of fabulousness, that touched Archy in this time when everything good in life was either synthesized in transgenic cyborg vats or shade-grown in small batches by a Buddhist collective of blind ex-Carmelite Wiccans."
Now, I had my lunch theme: Food with a humble brand of fabulousness. And no blind Wiccans.
Mom's Quiche Lorraine
This was my Mom's go to recipe whenever people came over for brunch, and it became mine, too. Almost as soon as I had a kitchen of my own, I began knocking out quiches at the drop of the hat. Like all great entertaining dishes, you can prepare this ahead of time and impress your guests with a minimum of fuss. (hear that, Michael Chabon!?) There are almost endless ways to customize the recipe, too, so even if you do put this into repeat rotation, no one will mind.
1 9 inch pie crust, par baked* (see recipe)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
8-10 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked until crisp
1 1/2 c. gruyere and/or Swiss cheese**, grated or very thinly sliced
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
generous grating of nutmeg
2 c. half and half
1 1/2 Tbs. butter, melted and slightly cooled
Preheat oven to 350.
To par bake your crust, line a pie plate with the crust and prick a few times with a fork. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the crust, then fill with pie weights, dried beans, or coffee beans. Bake for 12 minutes, until edges are just beginning to cook through.
Remove from the oven, take away the parchment paper and pie weights, and return to the oven for a few minutes more. The crust should looked cooked, but should not be brown. Brush with the lightly beaten egg white (this will seal up any of the fork holes, so your filling won't run), and set aside. If not cooking your quiche right away, turn off the oven.
Crumble 1/2 of the bacon into small pieces, and spread out in the bottom of the pie crust. Cover with 1/2 of the grated cheese/cheese slices, the rest of the bacon, and the remaining cheese. At this point, you can cover the pan with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 again, if it's not already on.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg until light. Add the half and half and the melted butter, whisking again until well combined. Pour custard into the prepared pie pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until puffed and golden brown, and center moves slightly, but is generally set.
Cool for 30 minutes, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Variation: Leek and Mushroom Quiche
Replace bacon with:
1 Tbs. butter
2 small or 1 large leek, cleaned, tough green parts discarded, and thinly sliced
1 c. crimini or other flavorful mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and pepper
Replace Swiss cheese with:
A blend of Italian cheeses, such as asiago, Parmesan, fontina, and romano (Trader Joe's Quattro Fromaggio)
Layer veggies and cheese as per the recipe above, and follow the rest of the recipe as instructed.
Click to print this recipe!
Arugula Salad with Golden Raisins, Almonds, Parmesan and Minted Honey Dressing
My new salad obsession.
1/3 c. good quality olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint, basil, or a combination of the two
1 bag arugula
Handful of golden raisins
Handful of sliced raw almonds
handful of shaved Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place olive oil, lemon juice, honey and herbs in a small jar. Seal the lid, and shake well to combine. Set aside. You can keep dressing in the fridge for several days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Toss arugula, raisins, almonds and Parmesan lightly. Add dressing, a little at a time, tossing until lightly coated. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Click to print this recipe!
We also had homemade rolls with fennel salt, and a variation of these Gingerbread Fig Bars, made this time with Cranberry Apple Butter and toasted pecans***. Three ingredients. Awesome!
* It's no secret that I love Trader Joe's pre-made pie crusts, available in the freezer section, but you can use homemade or any crust you like in this recipe. I've also made this many times without par-baking, but it does help to keep the bottom of the quiche from getting soggy.
** Trader Joe's sells a pre-grated mix of the two.
*** Yes, the gingerbread cookie dough is back in stock for the holiday season. Run, do not walk!